After a short stint in 'import limbo' Dragunity Knight - Romulus will debutin Rising Rampage this week. The new Link-2 supports the eightyear-old Dragunity theme and other Dragon strategies thanks to its searcheffect, and it's a solid piece of retro support in a vacuum. But as aDragunity veteran, I've been skeptical about the future of the deck: asgood as Romulus is it doesn't fix the fundamental problems with theDragunity strategy.
The Dragunity theme's ancient playstyle has remained mostly the same sinceits arrival in the TCG back in 2011, and Romulus barely addresses that.Luckily there are new cards in 2019 that make Dragunity a viable strategyagain, but we'll have to depart from the playstyle that was establishedeight years ago.
A Strategy With (Relatively) Ancient Traditions
The Dragunity Legion Structure Deck released in early 2011 tocompliment a handful of Dragunity monsters that were introduced in late2010. With Dragon Ravine finally in the picture the Dragunity deck had areal shot at being a viable competitive strategy. Unfortunately it arrivedwhile Six Samurais were dominating the competitive landscape, and the deckwas largely relegated to Local and Regional play outside of twoChampionship-level tops.
The strategy was simple enough at the time: use Dragon Ravine to sendDragunity Phalanx to the graveyard, and then follow up with Dragunity Dux.At the time, that two-card combination was the most economical way to reachgeneric Level 8 Synchros, and pairing Stardust Dragon with Skill Drain wasa common strategy.
When Galactic Overlord introduced Hieratic Dragon King of AtumDragunity's saw a small resurgence in competitive play, but nothing seriousenough to make waves at a YCS. Rank 6-focused builds leveraged DragunityArma - Mystletainn to Summon Atum, which in turn Summoned Red-Eyes DarknessMetal Dragon from your deck. If you were careful about when you activatedBlackwing - Zephyros the Elite you could even bounce your Red-Eyes back tothe hand to Summon it a second time. Dragunity were more explosive thanever, but the combinations of cards needed to make the 'Atum play' weredifficult to search.
Lord of the Tachyon Galaxy changed the game for Dragunity again by delivering an off-theme searcheffect for Wind Dragons: Tempest, Dragon Ruler of Storms. Banishing Tempestwith Gold Sarcophagus became a quick way to search Dragunity Arma -Mystletainn or Dragunity Phalanx, and after the September 2013 Forbidden& Limited List many Dragon Ruler players started to run a smallDragunity engine in their decks. Unfortunately Dragunity took the brunt of2014's first F&L List when Dragon Ravine was Forbidden. Even after theDragon Rulers themselves were gone, Dragon Ravine remained on the F&LList for years.
In 2015 Dragunity Divine Lance premiered in Secrets of Eternityand failed to make a difference. Cybernetic Impact dropped ahandful of new Dragunity cards in 2016, but most of them were underpoweredin an era of Pendulums. Dragunity Senatus and Dragunity Kaus wererestrictive, and more importantly they didn't change the fact thatDragunity players were entirely dependent on the success of their NormalSummon.
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The theme desperately needed – and arguably still needs – a way to SpecialSummon monsters from the hand reliably. Senatus was just another NormalSummon to add to cards like Dragunity Dux and Dragunity Legionnaire, andeven when Dragon Ravine came off the F&L List it made almost nodifference for dedicated Dragunity decks.
So let's take stock of where we're at now. Dragon Ravine's unrestricted,Tempest, Dragon Ruler of Storms is playable again and back on the LimitedList, while Dragunity Knight - Romulus is finally making its way to theTCG. The extra copies of Dragon Ravine are obviously useful, but withTerraforming Limited it's much harder to get the ball rolling Turn 1.Although Romulus can search Dragon Ravine directly you'll still need tofind a way to Summon it without your Field Spell, and that's a challengeeven for the most well designed builds.
Romulus also doesn't extend your combos outside of very specificsituations, and its ability to grab Dragunity Divine Lance won't do youmuch good if you don't have another Winged Beast to Summon from your hand.Tempest would have been a massive boon to the deck's ability to find combopieces, but with Gold Sarcophagus Limited it's no longer a stand-in for adedicated search spell.
None of these cards make the age-old Dragunity strategy of "Make a Level 8Synchro every turn and maybe a little more with the right hand" any better.You're still Normal Summoning extremely vulnerable monsters, and you'restill one interruption away from having your entire turn wasted. DragonRavine is terrifyingly fragile, and even in 2011 – long before playing overa dozen hand traps was standard practice – I found myself spending most ofmy resources just to keep my Field Spell and Normal Summons safe.
The Tools Of 2019 Make The Difference
It's not 2011 anymore, and the traditional Dragunity strategy has beenlargely outclassed by Invoked. That said, there's a great reason to playDragunity right now in 2019: Guardragons.
The Guardragon engine is what makes Dragunity Knight - Romulus so strong,and in the OCG it's a key player in the incredibly popular Dragon Linkstrategy. The OCG's latest deck-to-beat isn't much more than a bunch offree Dragon Special Summons, but it's definitely effective at overwhelmingthe opponent with Dragon Extra Deck monsters. We're still missing a handfulof important cards to make it viable here in the TCG, so in the meantimeCrusadia Thunder Dragons are probably the top choice for a 'GuardragonTurbo' strategy.
Dragunity can also do the Guardragon Turbo thing surprisingly well, and thedeck's two-card combos give the deck some semblance of consistency. Don'tget me wrong: I think Thunder Dragons and Crusadias are strictly betterstrategies, but as long as you can play through interruption – anot-so-small caveat – you can use the Dragunity engine to pump out the sameinsane boards you'd see from Thunder Dragons. The deck's two biggestweaknesses are its Normal Summon reliance and its lack of Main Deck cardremoval. Crusadia Reclusia typically has that covered for Thunder Dragons,but I personally haven't had much success with a Crusadia/Dragunity hybridyet.
DECKID=109967This deck is very heavy on Dragunity cards, so if you're a puristlooking to play Dragunity you're absolutely in luck.
Your first priority is Summoning Dragunity Knight - Romulus by landing twoDragons and/or Winged Beasts on the board, and from there we can use itseffect to search either Dragunity Divine Lance or Dragon Ravine. You'llusually get Dragon Ravine if you had to use Divine Lance to Summon Romulus.Either way the goal is to get two more Level 4 or lower Dragons on thefield to begin Summoning your Guardragons. It's a little easier if youhappen to have World Legacy Guardragon on hand, but even if you don't thereare plenty of ways to get an extra Dragon on the board.
I'm personally a fan of making the most of Dragon Ravine and Dragon Shrinefor this build. It's tempting to start slotting in Rokkets, Quick Launch,Unexpected Dai, and other cards that make the OCG Dragon Link deckfunction, but that engine will get its time in the spotlight next monthwhen theRokket Revolt Structure Deckis released next month. In the meantime cards like Supreme King DragonDarkwurm and Carboneggon ensure that resolving Dragon Ravine will alwaysgive you an extra Dragon on your field. You'll want to save Blackwing -Zephyros the Elite for your Guardragon combos, but in a pinch you can useit as Link Material to get the ball rolling.
After you Summon both Guardragon Elpy and Guardragon Pisty you'll useElpy's effect to Summon either Dragunity Arma Leyvaten or Red-Eyes DarknessMetal Dragon. I typically prefer Leyvaten here because its Level is usefullater in the combo, but having both ready to go is optimal. Leyvaten'sequip effect triggers whenever it's Special Summoned, and thanks to Phalanxand Couse it's effectively two monsters every time it hits the field.
From there you can convert your Romulus and Leyvaten into Agarpain tocomplete the Guardragon portion of the combo. This deck doesn't needGuardragon Agarpain to Summon a Level 8 Synchro, so we can use theAgarpain's effect to extend combos by Summoning Dragunity Knight - GaeDearg and loading the graveyard with Zephyros the Elite.
Ideally you'll end up with a board of Agarpain, Elpy, Pisty, Gae Dearg,Couse, and Zephyros. This is where Dragunity Knight - Barcha comes in: youcan Summon Barcha with Couse and Zephyros, then equipas many Dragunity monsters as you like from the graveyard toBarcha.
You'll almost always have at least two copies of Phalanx and/or Couse, andthat's more than enough to Summon a whole host of Link Monsters over therest of the turn. Resolving Barcha often feels like resolving Soul Charge,so it's worth stocking your graveyard with extra copies of Phalanx andCouse. After that you can consolidate your Guardragons and one of yourTuners for Saryuja Skull Dread.
You're looking to end your turn with as many monster-based negation bodiesas possible. Hieratic Seal of the Heavenly Spheres is a great Link Monsterto end on for its interruption effect and ability to Summon AmorphageGoliath from the deck. You have a few tricks of your own to outplay youropponent's interruption: Dragunity Arma - Mystletainn and Dragunity DivineLance let you keep making plays even if your Senatus was negated, and WorldLegacy Guardragon reduces the number of Dragons necessary to resolve Elpy.
Dragunity Dux and Senatus can Summon Crystal Wing Synchro Dragon orBorreload Savage Dragon on their own, so in a pinch you can try to takeadvantage of a weak hand by defending yourself with Crystal Wing. They alsomake excellent follow-up plays if you didn't Summon them in your initialpush. Dragunity Knight - Ascalon is fantastic when playing second and cantotally pave the way for an OTK. Its banish effect isn't once per turn, andby the time you Summon it you'll have loaded more than enough ammo into thegraveyard.
I'm having a blast experimenting with Dragunity again, but the appeal mightnot translate to everyone else if you're not a long time Dragunity fan.It's great to see old cards like Leyvaten and Barcha finally seeing play ina serious Dragunity build. Dragunity Knight - Romulus is definitely worthpicking up if you're planning on playing Guardragons when the latest Rokketsupport arrives next month. Whether you're a fan of the theme, or justsourcing ideas for a Guardragon Turbo build that will break the format, Ihighly recommend giving the Dragunity deck another shot. It hasn't beenthis good in a long time, and I doubt it will ever be this good again.
Until next time then
Kelly Locke is a West Michigangamer and writer. You can follow him on Twitter for more updates and check out his Youtube channel. He also studied marketing at Western Michigan University.